I've been lurking on the forums checking out the opinions on our pending free agency and draft and I must say I've been pondering how to approach the off season myself. One mistake I don't want this franchise to make is to be afraid to make changes. This team as constituted is not good enough to keep as is and I hope Ireland has the will to do what is necessary to take the next step. We say we want to bring this team into the future offensively (high scoring passing ) and defensively (pass rushing ball hawking) yet want to hang on to players who don't represent the future you want.
WIDE RECIEVERS: If we are to become a high scoring offense we need to do whatever it takes to bring in BOTH Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace. This means getting really rid of hartline and Bess. Both hartline and bess are quality pass catchers but neither are difference makers or TD machines. Bess can be replaced by a quicker cheaper option in the draft.
DEFENSIVE LINE: This is where sacrifices have to be made as well. We are a excellent run stopping team in a passing leauge. I believe our sack total this season is fools gold and that we need a pass rusher opposite Wake and in a draft filled with quality pass rushers we are poised to select a starter at the position. However this will mean letting go of Randy Starks. Yes, blasphemy but I believe Odrick has the potential to take his spot without any serious fall out and might even improve our pass rush at the DT position. The money many would use on Starks I would use in my next focus.
OFFENSIVE LINE: The offensive line is a mixed bag. It's not as bad as many would make it seem but it needs an upgrade and maybe movement of players. I personally like the idea of moving john jerry to RT and Incognito to RG. The money saved on Starks can be used to sign LG Levitre. I would not resign Jake Long as I believe Martin is the heir apparent and with an off season of strength training will be a quality LT.
CORNER BACK: This position needs serious overhaul and will require both cap space and picks. I would tag Sean smith simply because I do not want to give him a long term deal and his departure would leave the position even worse. I would go after the best CB on the market which is between Grimes or Cox. I would also select a CB in the second round to groom as Smiths replacement if he proves unworthy of a long term deal.
RUNNING BACK: I love Reggie Bush as a player but I would not resign him because I believe it would be foolish to spend that much on a running back when we have young talent at the position. Many will say Reggie is our most dangerous offensive weapon. I agree but that says more about our impotent offense than Reggie greatness. If Reggie split time between wide receiver and RB it would be worth it, but strictly as an RB is a waste of his talent and our money. If his signing would jeapordize bringing in the players mentioned above I have no qualms about letting him walk.
Ultimately this team needs to make sacrifices to get where it needs to be. I just hope management realizes this and not waste another season on players that will only maintain the status quo. Cause if nothing changes, nothing changes.